When the Dallas Stars re-signed Anton Khudobin last offseason, the expectation was that he and Ben Bishop would once again be the Stars’ tandem throughout the 2020-21 NHL season. No one could have anticipated Jake Oettinger starting 24 games, not even Oettinger himself:
“I didn’t really know what to expect, honestly, at all,” Oettinger said. “I had no idea what my role was going to be coming in. Obviously, I got to play a lot this year, which was great. I think there were a lot of highs and lows. I know it’s pretty cliche, but I just learned so much about what it’s like in the NHL.”
With a solid rookie year under his belt, Oettinger is now focused on cementing his spot in the Stars’ lineup, even after Bishop returns from injury. And he won’t stop there — he wants to become the guy for Dallas:
“Next year, I really want to establish myself and show that I can be a No. 1,” Oettinger said. “I want to play in those big games down the stretch that mean everything. Watching the playoffs here the first couple of days, it really sucks. The atmosphere looks incredible. That’s something I want to be a part of. I want to be the guy in net in those big games.
You can read more from Saad Yousuf here.
Former Texas Stars captain Max Fortunus is returning to the team, this time as an assistant coach:
Speaking of Texas, Riley Damiani and Adam Mascherin made their case this year for an NHL gig:
A pair of monster AHL seasons has two Stars prospects on the radar for 2021-22 https://t.co/likHq9l4pE— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) May 19, 2021
Tyler Seguin talks about the Stars’ playoff miss and how all eyes are on 2021-22:
The NHL playoffs are rolling on. Last season's Stanley Cup finalist isn't a part of them.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 21, 2021
I spoke with Tyler Seguin about what the hell happened with the @DallasStars this season, and why next year's "last chapter" could be a special one. (ESPN+) https://t.co/bwnSZPfCkL
Around the League
I’m gonna miss it when there aren’t four games of playoff hockey every night...
- The Florida Panthers narrowly avoided a 3-0 series deficit, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5 in overtime. [Litterbox Cats]
- Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Penguins took the series lead with a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders. [Pensburgh]
- Ditto for the Vegas Golden Knights, who took the lead with a resounding 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. [Knights on Ice]
- Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens playoff series is finally underway, with Montreal taking the first game 2-1. [Eyes on the Prize]
John Tavares left that game early after a brutal head injury that saw him taken off the ice in a stretcher. He has since been discharged from the hospital:
Davidson Returns to Blue Jackets as President of Hockey Ops— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 20, 2021
John Davidson returned to the @BlueJacketsNHL as president of hockey operations on Thursday following his unexpected firing by the New York #Rangers earlier this month: https://t.co/gXzJmzESqT
Many playoff teams have a small amount of fans in attendance, but the Carolina Hurricanes are going all out:
The @Canes had 12,000 fans for their first two playoff games, which was jarring because it looked... so normal.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) May 21, 2021
"I think people also needed something to cheer about. We've had a year and a half of just junk thrown at everybody, and they let it all out."https://t.co/30CYUcuuFy
Hockey isn’t exactly the best sport equipped for live sports betting, but could that change with new technology?
As a sport, hockey isn’t set up well for in-game betting. The NHL is hoping puck and player tracking and additional new data can change that. Want to bet on who will be the fastest skater that night or have the have hardest shot? That’s coming soon. https://t.co/DQE5u0FWXn— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 20, 2021
Finally, while it may be missing big-ticket NHL names, the World Championship will give hockey fans a sneak preview at some future NHL talent:
Welcome to the start of the #IIHFWorlds.— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 21, 2021
Should be a great day of action with ITA/GER and RUS/CZE starting off at 9:15 AM ET.
SVK: https://t.co/vWZm40h7fF#NHLDraft: https://t.co/z63PxL46i6